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Assessment of the visual function of partially sighted and blind Canadian youth using the VFQ-25 questionnaire: a preliminary study

  • Natalie Fleming
    Affiliations
    McMaster Paediatric Eye Research Group, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
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  • Forough Farrokhyar
    Affiliations
    McMaster Paediatric Eye Research Group, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

    Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

    Office of Surgical Research Services, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
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  • Kourosh Sabri
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to Kourosh Sabri, MBChB, McMaster Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West 3V2, Hamilton, Ont. L8N3Z5.
    Affiliations
    McMaster Paediatric Eye Research Group, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

    Division of Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

    McMaster Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
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      Abstract

      Objective

      Young people are a relatively underrepresented group in literature on poor vision and blindness. This study assessed the quality of life and function of young people who have poor vision or blindness by asking directly about their personal experiences.

      Methods

      A modified version of the VFQ-25 was administered to 47 students at a school for blind youth. All students who received the test had visual acuity scores of 20/100 or worse. The VFQ-25 scoring system was used, and results from additional qualitative questions were themed and ranked. Further analysis was performed, using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient to check for correlation between duration of blindness and VFQ score.

      Results

      Participants recorded a composite VFQ score of 65, showing that poor vision had a self-perceived moderate effect on their daily function. Proportion of participant's life spent with visual impairment correlated with higher composite scores. In general, lower scores were reported by participants with worse visual acuity. However, variations were observed in the mental health category.

      Conclusions

      Young people have a more optimistic and nuanced view of their function than expected based on VFQ scores of other groups. Larger studies, particularly ones including youth in non-specialized schools would be useful to expand these findings.

      Résumé

      Objectif

      Les jeunes sont relativement sous-représentés dans les articles portant sur la basse vision et la cécité. La présente étude visait à évaluer la qualité de vie et l’état fonctionnel de sujets jeunes présentant une basse vision ou une cécité en les interrogeant directement sur leur expérience personnelle.

      Méthodes

      On a fait passer une version modifiée du questionnaire VFQ-25 à 47 étudiants qui fréquentaient une école pour jeunes aveugles. L'acuité visuelle de tous les répondants était de 20/100 ou pire. Le système de gradation du questionnaire VFQ-25 a été utilisé, et les réponses aux questions qualitatives supplémentaires ont été regroupées par thème et classées. On a procédé à une analyse plus approfondie en recourant au coefficient de corrélation des rangs de Spearman afin de vérifier s'il existe une corrélation entre l'ancienneté de la cécité et le score VFQ.

      Résultats

      Les participants ont obtenu un score VFQ composite de 65, ce qui permet de conclure que la basse vision avait un effet modéré sur la façon dont ils percevaient leur fonctionnement quotidien. On note une corrélation entre l'ancienneté du trouble visuel et l'obtention de scores composites plus élevés. En règle générale, les participants qui présentaient la pire acuité visuelle ont obtenu des scores plus faibles. Cela dit, des variations ont été observées au chapitre de la santé mentale.

      Conclusions

      Les jeunes ont une perception plus optimiste et nuancée de leur état fonctionnel que ce à quoi on se serait attendu compte tenu des scores VFQ obtenus chez d'autres groupes. Des études de plus grande envergure, notamment auprès de jeunes qui fréquentent des écoles non spécialisées, permettraient d'accroître nos connaissances à cet égard.
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